Chavy will bike more than 250 miles across Italy, climbing almost 17,000 feet, all to raise $12,000 on behalf of the Christel House organization.
Windermere’s Olivier Chavy soon will embark on one of the greatest challenges he has ever set for himself— to bike more than 250 miles across Italy, climbing almost 17,000 feet, all to raise $12,000 on behalf of Christel House.
Christel House is a non-profit organization founded by Christel DeHaan in 1998 that aims to transform the lives of impoverished children around the world by offering K-12 education to build self-sufficient and contributing members to today’s society. The organization complements the educational program with health care, food, counseling, career planning, family assistance, and college and careers support.
President of Christel House and former Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson is grateful to Chavy and his desire to contribute to the organization in more ways than one.
“We are so very grateful to Olivier for his engagement and his support of Christel House, and for making us the organization that would benefit from this amazing feet that he is getting ready to undertake,” he said. “We are so proud of him. Olivier is remarkable, he is a man who shies away from no challenge.”
Chavy has been involved with the Christel House organization for three years. He currently is part of the marketing and fundraising committee.
“I’m a father; I was able to raise my kids in a very good situation,” he said.
“Being able to give back and help kids in need has been very important for me. It’s not giving back, it’s not changing the world, it’s impacting the lives of others. I’ve traveled all my life, all over the world. I’ve gained awareness of cultural differences everywhere in the world. If you can impact kids in need and change their lives somehow, it means a lot to them and to me.”
FIFTY MILES PER DAY
Chavy has been biking intensively for the last three years. COVID-19 was a catalyst for him to become more active and involved with the sport. Currently, he bikes about 50 miles every day, including the weekends.
“I would wake up at 6 in the morning, and I would cycle around the lake in Windermere, and Disney and the trail in Winter Garden,” he said. “I remember I was maybe the only one in the road. I would bike every morning. You become addicted; your body needs it.”
Sometimes, when he is not able to bike in the morning, he climbs on his bike and sets out during the evening, starting at 6:30 p.m. and getting home by 8:30.
Not long ago, Chavy purchased a new bike from Roman Brana, owner of the Epic Cycles World bike store in Clermont, who mentioned the tour in Italy to him.
“I immediately registered (it) and said, ‘I’m going to link this to Christel House,’” he said.
During early May however, he had a small setback on his training — as he contracted COVID-19. Now, a month later, he is back in shape and training daily as usual. Chavy has been changing his training scenery lately, training in New Smyrna, Winter Garden and even Clermont, as the little hills offer a higher challenge to his workout.
Under Brana’s and Charlie Livermore’s instruction, Chavy and a few of his biker friends have been preparing to face the Dolomites mountains in Friuli, Italy.
“The mountains are challenging enough to make it a real challenge,” Chavy said. “The past nine months, we have been learning how to descend (and climb) the mountains.”
Training has not only involved cycling endurance, cadence and power, but also logistics. The team will include a technician that will be driving a truck behind them, carrying spares in case they are needed, refreshments, food and a ride for those who are too exhausted to continue riding during the day.
During the duration of the tour, Chavy will take small video clips and photos of his endeavor, sharing them once he gets to the hotel at night. This way, people will be updated on his performance and if they want, they will be able to donate.
“I will do it on my network,” he said. “The blog will be live, I will post on social media and hopefully that will incentivize people to donate.”
With the funds raised through his challenge, Christel House will continue to make an impact in the communities it serves.
“This funding will be a very important and welcome addition to our support that we will use for our schools in South Africa, India, Jamaica, Mexico and the United States,” Peterson said. “We have almost 7,000 current students and recent graduates.”
Over the two decades, Christel House has served different communities around the world. The organization has graduated two doctors, multiple lawyers, people who have decided to go into the software industry and several who are working for multinational corporations.
The Friuli challenge is not the first one that Chavy has done as a fundraiser for Christel House. Last year, during the “virtual walk” challenge the organization put together, Chavy biked more than 1,500 miles in a month, raising around $25,000.
In 2024, Chavy will embark on an even more challenging journey— to cross America from west to east on his bike. The crossing will last about a month, as long as he rides 80 miles per day.
“I will need a lot of practice,” he said. “I will need to watch my weight, my food, my diet. It’s two years from now, but as soon as I finish the trip in Italy, I will start to train with a coach.”
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